By Ephraim Oseji
One of the charities leading the social safety interventions during this COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, Chineto Ozigbo Foundation has set a new standard in entrepreneurial development with the announcement of a loan guarantee support of N100 million for small businesses in Anambra State.
Shortly after the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, announced a N50billion COVID-19 Intervention Loan for households and businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Valentine Ozigbo announced this laudable intervention in the businesses ecosystem of the southeastern state in April, 2023.
Ozigbo, the immediate past President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Plc, revealed that he was offering a personal guarantee to enable struggling businesses in Anambra access the CBN fund.
Through his charity, Chineto Ozigbo Foundation and in partnership with VFD Microfinance Bank and Akalabo Microfinance Bank Amesi, Ozigbo would be offering help with putting a loan application together to businesses that wished to apply for the CBN’s COVID-19 loan. For applicants who are successful, he would be providing a guarantee of up to N100 million to enable them access the funding.
“Our founder, Valentine Ozigbo, has almost two decades of banking experience under his belt has seen, firsthand, how struggling entrepreneurs find it difficult to access loan facilities because of difficulties in presenting a guarantee,” the General Manager of Chineto Ozigbo Foundation, Mr. Izuchukwu Oraelosi said.
“Driven by a deep passion to develop small businesses, which is the livewire of our economy, our founder has taken this uncommon and bold step to help these businesses access the funding they need to survive this difficult time.
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“The CBN loan is being administered solely by NIRSAL MicroFinance Bank. It is important to note that foundation is not partnering with CBN or NIRAL. Apart from the awareness we provide, we are offering support to businesses in Anambra who come to us by way of advice on packaging their applications and a guarantee for those who need it. This service is offered at no charge to the loan applicants”, he explained.
Valentine Ozigbo is fast becoming Nigeria’s leading philanthropist with his uncommon generosity during this coronavirus pandemic. Through his foundation, he has donated food items, hand sanitizers, facemasks, educational and relief materials worth over N20 million in the entire 177 communities and over 60 markets in Anambra.
Chineto Ozigbo Foundation has deployed several programmes focused on youth and women entrepreneurial development, which has reduced poverty and empowered thousands of people in Anambra State.
The programmes of his charity have attracted to Ozigbo a cult following in his home state, especially in the Anambra South Senatorial District where he acquired the name, “King of the Youth”.
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